Destination guide: New York, United States
New York is one of the most important cities in the United States and one of the classiest and most glamourous cities in the world. Hundreds of people of different nationalities live there, giving the city a cosmopolitan and multicultural feel.
If you’re thinking of travelling to New York, you musn’t miss the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, Ground Zero, Central Park, Fifth Avenue, Times Square, Broadway and the Empire State Building, as well as many other attractions.
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New York - History Overview
After Henry Hudson first claimed this land in 1609 for his Dutch East India Company sponsors, he reported it to be 'as beautiful a land as one can hope to tread upon.' Soon after it was named 'Manhattan, ' derived from local Munsee Indian words and meaning 'Island of Hills'. By 1625 a colony, soon called New Amsterdam, was established, and the island was bought from the Munsee Indians by Peter Minuit. George Washington was sworn in here as the republic's first president in 1789, and when the Civil War broke out, New York City, which supplied a significant contingent of volunteers to defend the Union, became an organizing center for the movement to emancipate slaves.
Throughout the 19th century successive waves of immigrants - Irish, German, English, Scandinavian, Slavic, Italian, Greek and central European Jewish - led to a swift population increase, followed by the building of empires in industry and finance, and a golden age of skyscrapers.
After WWII New York City was the premier city in the world, but it suffered from a new phenomenon: 'white flight' to the suburbs. By the 1970s the graffiti- ridden subway system had become a symbol of New York's civic and economic decline. But NYC regained much of its swagger in the 1980s, led by colorful three-term mayor Ed Koch. The city elected its first African American mayor, David Dinkins, in 1989, but ousted him after a single term in favor of Republican Rudolph Giuliani (a 2008 primary candidate for US president). It was during Giuliani's reign that catastrophe struck on September 11, 2001, when the 110-story twin towers of the World Trade Center were struck by hijacked commercial airlines, became engulfed in balls of fire and then collapsed, killing 3000 people, the result of a now-infamous terrorist attack.
In 2001 New York elected its 108th mayor, Republican Michael Bloomberg. Reelected for a second term in November 2005, Bloomberg's campaign machine was gearing up for another run in 2009 after the passage of a highly controversial amendment that would allow him to seek a third term. Bloomberg is known as an independent political pragmatist, and his administration has earned both raves and criticism for its dual pursuit of environmental and development goals (the citywide nonsmoking law has proved popular, while congestion pricing to combat gridlock failed approval).
While September 11 and its aftermath are remembered, the topic of security to most New Yorkers is more background noise than every day concern. Stratospheric Wall Street bonuses and the accompanying sky-high real-estate market - prior to the 2008 market collapse - transformed once gritty neighborhoods into models of gentrification. National retail chains replaced neighborhood shops and more young people and those earning average salaries moved to various increasingly popular outer-borough neighborhoods with cultural cachet.